Blogging Through Breast Cancer

Blogging Through Breast Cancer

Young women with high cancer risk and early-onset breast cancer blog their way through diagnosis and treatment with humor, strength, and grace.

Earlier this year, we highlighted a few mental health bloggers on Many people with health challenges use blogs to vent, commiserate, and inspire — check the diabetes, celiac, or fibromyalgia topics to find networks of bloggers sharing treatment tips, success stories, and more.

Women coping with young-onset breast cancer or with the BRCA gene (the mutation that prompted Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy) are building a particularly robust, feisty community. Here are a few survivors speaking out:

Ticking Time Bombs

Twenty-three-year-old Rachel Horn is already observing the second anniversary of her bilateral prophylactic mastectomy — the complete removal of all her breast tissue in response to testing positive for BRCA. She chronicles the surgery and its aftermath on Ticking Time Bombs:

time bombs

Along with descriptions of the BRCA genes and resources for women at risk, Ticking Time Bombs walks readers through the entire process of diagnosis, decision-making, surgery, breast reconstruction, and post-op adjustment. Now two years post-mastectomy, she’s as likely to be posting tips for dating post-surgery and roundups of the best bikinis for women with reconstructed breasts as she is to muse on life after a mastectomy.

Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer

Maria Ennis-O’Conner got her diagnosis at age 34. Now physically healthy after nine months of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment, she finds herself struggling to shape a post-cancer identity. Frustrated with the resources she found, she decided to create one — and Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer was born:


On Journeying, Maria weaves together resources to help breast cancer survivors rebuild their lives, from new studies to inspirational tweets, with her own reflections. For real-time conversation, she also organizes the monthly Breast Cancer Chat Europe on Twitter; follow #BCCEU the first Thursday of each month at 8:30PM GMT to participate.

The Risky Body

Another blogger saw a hole in the resources available to women facing difficult decisions about their cancer risks: a lack of critical feminist analysis of treatment and support options for those with the BRCA mutation. She filled the gap with The Risky Body:

risky body

Her provocative blog picks apart the economic realities of diagnosis, the troubling messages she sees in initiatives aimed at supporting women at risk, race-based inequalities in treatment, and more. The Risky Body is essential reading for anyone interested in the “business” of cancer treatment from a feminist perspective.

Thoughts from FORCE

FORCE — short for “Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered” — is a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the 1,000,000+ women and families affected by hereditary breast and ovarian cancers caused by the BRCA mutation. Sue Friedman, FORCE’s executive director, blogs on


She uses her blog to advocate for research and treatment initiatives that support long-term health for women with the BRCA mutation, and offers thoughtful analyses of media coverage of BRCA issues and research.

Although a distressingly high percentage of women will face breast cancer in their lifetimes, far fewer are confronted with the risks of a BRCA mutation or early-onset cancer. Blogs give these young women a way to connect with others, learn more about their diagnosis, and create a deep support network.

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